Virginia Pinnock Scholarship Fund, Inc.

Non-profit Organization

2016 Community Service Awards

With heartfelt gratitude for your tireless effort and support for students in the Hartford County!  
Thank you!

Shannalyn Miller   

Entrepreneur and Owner of Cosmo Logics Hair Spa

Professional Hair Stylist 

Promoter of Continuing Education


Although I am a successful hairdresser now, cosmetics was not my first career choice. Initially, I worked at The Message Center for three years as a customer service representative and was promoted to the position of inventory control. I programmed special effects onto pagers and beepers.

The decision to become a hairdresser came about by a series of difficult events. I was laid off from the Message Center and at that time I was looking for a job. There were not a lot of options around and I was married at the time. My mother-in-law said to me, “You know, I think you should do hair!”. At first I dismissed the idea but she encouraged me. The reason my mother-in-law felt so strongly is that I used to do everybody’s hair. If they were going somewhere, I was the person to take care of them. I decided to go to school and follow after hairdressing if I did not find a job by then.

Not only am I involved in hair care, but I am sincerely passionate about the community of Hartford. My first medium of outreach was Hartford Public Access Television. I was involved with the program “Reggae Vibes”. Reggae Vibes dealt with helping the community, and the discussion of Caribbean music and politics. When immigration laws began to change we helped to promote that. Reggae Vibes set up fundraisers for different  functions. I was able to utilize Hartford Public Access Television to pinpoint areas of need. Young ladies who had friends in high places would let us know where exactly organizations needed help. That is how I was able to give my time to the Senior Citizen Center to serve the elderly Thanksgiving meals. It means a lot to me to have a hand in the progress of other groups of people. Outside of television programs, I have taken personal measures to make sure the people I am working with are blessed. When possible, I have given out bags of school supplies at the beginning of the public school year as well as free prom dresses for high school juniors and seniors. When I have the opportunity, I do not hesitate to lend a helping hand. If I know an elderly customer is in a tight bind and cannot afford to get her hair done, I will gladly do it at a lower cost and in some cases, for free. Anything I can do to help, I try to do so.

I am an avid reader and I believe that no one should ever stop learning. Education is priceless. From a young age, my mom always bought me books. Sometimes when I would have questions she would tell me to go look it up or read about it. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I got books for Christmas, too! I would think, “Is she kidding me?” and I would laugh. My mom would give me updated dictionaries and she always encouraged me to discover the world for myself. The drive to learn definitely began with my mom and I thank her for it. I am a strong advocate for B&B: Beauty and Brains. That is the motto I have shared with my customers over the years and I stand by it to this day.

Teian Ricketts

President of School Governance Council

Acting President of the PTA

Restorative Justice Parent Advocate


My name is Teian Ricketts. I am a full-time student at Goodwin College, pursuing a career as a Professional Registered Nurse. I am also a full-time mother and wife, and I have a full-time job. My son has been attending the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology since 2012. Since then, I have always participated in the School Governance Council (SGC) meetings. I became President of the SGC in 2013, and I am honored to continue to serve in that position. During the school year 2015-2016, along with being the President of the School Governance Council, I given the position as Acting President for the P.T.A. and sat on the Restorative Justice Board as Parent Advocate. I have always been an active parent in my son’s school from a tender age and continued to do so even throughout his High School years. As the great Mahatma Gandhi says, "Be the change you want to see in the world,”

I believe that being involved in my child’s academic growth, is one of great importance. I contribute to his learning and performance by being actively involved in my son’s school life; this is my  lifetime goal as a parent. At this juncture, I  help not only my son but many other students at the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology. I am a defender and advocate for all students and parents. I work with educators to improve students’ morale, and I work with students to improve their future.  My participation on the School Governance Council, PTA, and Restorative Justice Board is an opportunity to lead by example and to advocate for additional school programs that would benefit our children.

As President of the School Governance Council, I took on the responsibilities of attending different meetings at the school and at other business locations. I am proud to represent the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at various functions. When necessary, I am available for emergency meetings on behalf of the school and students. I extended myself beyond being a mother to my son and became a mother to all my son’s friends, who did not hesitate to call me when they had a problem whether at school or home. I was never too busy to volunteer to help out at functions or wherever I was needed.

This year I’ve had the pleasure of being a Restorative Justice Parent Advocate where I listened to various incidences. As I advocate for students and parents, I felt my input added value to the conversation and helped to restore justice. I do believe that with anything in life, the more I put in, the more I will get out of it. Therefore, my involvement in supporting my child’s educational growth has not only impacted his life but every other child that is attending the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology. My involvement has facilitated a great son and mother relationship, a parent and teacher relationship, and has afforded me the opportunity to contribute as a stakeholder in the community.


 Lisa Szewczul

Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety UTC Aerospace Systems

I am a strong supporter of all events at the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology.  Whether it’s the Robotics team or getting out and working on the landscaping for Earth Day and Green Apple Day, I love being out there working with the students and seeing them grow.  My passion for working with the students is what drives me to get others involved.  Over the past few years I have recruited professionals to work with the students during the YES Academy and helped to place many of those students in internships at UTC Aerospace Systems. I unabashedly call on colleagues within UTC and other companies to become engaged with the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology and recruited a wonderful addition to the advisory board in Dave Smith from Pratt & Whitney.

 The positive transformation that comes from working with students drives me to help see them succeed even further.  When an event is coming up, I communicate with colleagues at UTC Aerospace Systems, UTC and past volunteers to make sure that there is ample participation and mentorship to support the students.  Every volunteer makes a difference in the lives of the students and in turn those students give back tenfold in the accomplishments that they go on to achieve throughout their lives. 

 Participating in and helping to organize the annual Green Apple Day and Earth Day events holds a special place in my heart.  Anytime a child is provided an opportunity to interact with the natural environment we see firsthand a shift in their thinking.  The students that I have worked side by side with are interested in learning about the plants chosen for specific landscaping projects – not just what the plant is, but what the volunteers know about the uses of the plants, the best growing requirements, and how it will impact the greater community.  Nature is seen up close and personal planting the seeds of sustainability in everything the students work on.

 Investment in the students is so important to the future of our society.  One of the things I am most proud of is the internship program between the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology and UTC.  Over the past six years, we have welcomed over 23 students for three week internships.  The students benefit from working in a business environment years ahead of their peers, while providing us with a view of the talent and concerns of the upcoming workforce.  The amount of growth that happens in those three weeks is truly remarkable and it is an amazing feeling to be a part it.